All eyes were on the status of Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson ahead of the Baltimore Ravens’ wildcard round game against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday.
Jackson hasn’t dressed since injuring his knee against the Denver Broncos in Week 13. He didn’t practice Wednesday or Thursday and was listed on the Ravens’ injury report, putting more questioning his availability for Sunday.
On Thursday, the fifth-year quarterback all but confirmed he wouldn’t play.
“I want to give you all an update as I am in the recovery process,” he said. tweeted Thursday. “I suffered a grade 2 PCL sprain bordering on a 3 strain. There is still inflammation around my knee and my knee remains unstable.”
Jackson left the Week 13 game early after Broncos linebacker Jonathon Cooper veered to the right side and sacked him on that side on the final play of the first quarter. At the time, head coach John Harbaugh said the injury was not season-ending.
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LAMAR JACKSON: QB Ravens reportedly face ‘uphill battle’ to play in wild-card round against Bengals
Last week, Harbaugh said the team was “hopeful” Jackson could make the playoffs, adding that the 26-year-old and the coaches were “working as hard as they could”. But Jackson said he remains “on the road to recovery.”
“I wish I could be out there with my guys more than anything but I can’t give 100% of myself to my guys and my fans. Still hoping we still have a chance,” tweeted Jackson.
It’s unclear how Jackson’s injury will affect his contract negotiations with the Ravens. Jackson, the 2019 MVP, is in the fifth year of his rookie contract. He was eligible for a contract extension, but he and the team have yet to reach an agreement.
The Ravens’ offense has struggled in Jackson’s absence and hasn’t scored more than 17 points in a game since leaving Week 13 early.
To add insult to injury, Tyler Huntley was limited to practice Wednesday and Thursday with a right shoulder and wrist injury. If Huntley isn’t ready to leave on Sunday, undrafted rookie quarterback Anthony Brown would take over starting duties. (Brown started for the Ravens in Week 18.)
Sunday’s game will mark the third time the Ravens and Bengals will meet this season. The Ravens won Game 1, 19-17, in Week 5 and the Bengals evened the series with a 27-16 win over Baltimore in Week 18.
Contributor: Chris Bumbaca, USA TODAY